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Album Review: White Arrows - Dry Land Is Not A Myth

1 July 2012 | 8:25 pm | Robert Townsend

This is clearly Church making music the way he envisions it.

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The White Arrows story begins with a blind child. Vocalist Mickey Church spent the first 11 years of his life seeing the world through an impressionistic smear. By the time his sight was righted, he had an incredibly vivid imagination and an ear for African percussion, thanks to his father. After leaving NYU with a degree in shamanistic ritual philosophy, he formed White Arrows and gigged like crazy. All of which led to this, the band's debut longplayer.

There are two immediately noticeable things about the first album from the LA-based gang. Firstly, it is a diverse offering, as fragments of pop, electronica, dance, disco, rock and indie pierce tribal rhythms. Secondly, it's rather uplifting. It would be easy for the songs to sound forced. After all, on paper a fun album which mixes world music with electronic rock sounds like the worst thing ever. But Dry Land... works simply because its eclecticism doesn't appear the slightest bit contrived. This is clearly Church making music the way he envisions it, rather than a hodgepodge of sounds thrown together at random. Sure, the psyche-dance of Coming Or Going, the rock reminiscence of I Can Go and the synths and punctuating guitar of Roll Forever might be fairly experimental, but they are glued together with Church's charisma, creating an album far more coherent than it has any right to be.

There are a few wrong turns along the way, but this is perhaps to be expected from such a sprawling sonic landscape and, overall, this kaleidoscopic record hits the mark with its colour and vibrancy.